South Dakota Legislature Votes "Balanced Teaching " of Global Warming

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South Dakota Seal

Take a look at South Dakota House Concurrent Resolution 1009 and shake your head:

A CONCURRENT RESOLUTION, Calling for balanced teaching of global warming in the public schools of South Dakota.

    WHEREAS, the earth has been cooling for the last eight years despite small increases in anthropogenic carbon dioxide; and

    WHEREAS, there is no evidence of atmospheric warming in the troposphere where the majority of warming would be taking place; and

    WHEREAS, historical climatological data shows without question the earth has gone through trends where the climate was much warmer than in our present age. The Climatic Optimum and Little Climatic Optimum are two examples. During the Little Climatic Optimum, Erik the Red settled Greenland where they farmed and raised dairy cattle. Today, ninety percent of Greenland is covered by massive ice sheets, in many places more than two miles thick; and

    WHEREAS, the polar ice cap is subject to shifting warm water currents and the break-up of ice by high wind events. Many oceanographers believe this to be the major cause of melting polar ice, not atmospheric warming; and

    WHEREAS, carbon dioxide is not a pollutant but rather a highly beneficial ingredient for all plant life on earth. Many scientists refer to carbon dioxide as "the gas of life"; and

    WHEREAS, more than 31,000 American scientists collectively signed a petition to President Obama stating: "There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, or methane, or other greenhouse gasses is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the earth's atmosphere and disruption of the earth's climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide will produce many beneficial effects on the natural plant and animal environments of the earth":

    NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, by the House of Representatives of the Eighty-fifth Legislature of the State of South Dakota, the Senate concurring therein, that the South Dakota Legislature urges that instruction in the public schools relating to global warming include the following:

            (1)    That global warming is a scientific theory rather than a proven fact;

            (2)    That there are a variety of climatological, meteorological, astrological, thermological, cosmological, and ecological dynamics that can effect world weather phenomena and that the significance and interrelativity of these factors is largely speculative; and

            (3)    That the debate on global warming has subsumed political and philosophical viewpoints which have complicated and prejudiced the scientific investigation of global warming phenomena; and

    BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Legislature urges that all instruction on the theory of global warming be appropriate to the age and academic development of the student and to the prevailing classroom circumstances.

Astrological? Thermological? Apparently these terms were removed in the cleaned up version that actually passed. In any case, set aside your own views on how strong you think the science supporting man-made global warming is—do you really want a bunch of yahoos in a state legislature deciding how it will be taught in public schools?

As with intelligent design creationism, there is an alternative to having legislators decide school curricula.

Hat tip to Russell Seitz.

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  1. In any case, set aside your own views on how strong you think the science supporting man-made global warming is – do you really want a bunch of yahoos in a state legislature deciding how it will be taught in public schools?

    Well we don’t want public schools at all.

    1. +K-12

    2. My first thought exactly. Thanks for putting it at the top of this thread.

      Schools should not be political footballs. Time to go all Lucy on the legislatures’ asses and pull that football away from good ol’ Charlie Pol.

    3. When I have kids I will NOT send them to a public school. If I can’t aford a private school I will home school. It is too important a job to leave it vulnerable to like likes of politicians.

    4. There is an inherent conflict of interest when the government runs education.

  2. Oh, please. I’m skeptical of many of the AGW crowd’s claims, but legislating science is stupid.

    1. Even though I’m skeptical as well, this is much too similar to the “teach the controversy” nonsense spouted by creationists.

      1. I always thought that the main reason why we should get totally hysterical if yahoos in fly-over states decide to teach creationism in public schools is to make sure that the children understand the difference between scientific and non-scientific theories. Well, the creationist yahoos have been completely defeated. Creationism and intelligent design are almost never taught in public schools (I wrote “almost” out of abundance of caution). How did it help our educated class to evaluate the scientific rigor in the AGW theories? Hey, all of them went to schools that didn’t “teach the controversy nonsense”.

        1. Well, the creationist yahoos have been completely defeated.

          Don’t kid yourself. They are being driven off and are being help at bay for the time being; but they haven’t given up and they are very persistent.

      2. Teach the controversy has been semi-reigned in by people on the evolution side as well.

        I bought a couple of clever shirts from here, telling people to “teach the controversy”

        http://controversy.wearscience.com/

        1. Maybe we should teach the Pb -> Au controversy. All gold on earth was created by nuclear transmutation after all. Granted it took the power of a supernova to create, but it sure would be cool to produce artificial gold.

    2. It’s a resolution, which has no statutory impact. It isn’t legislating science, rather it is a “suggestion” of what schools should resolve to do – provide “balanced teaching of global warming in the public schools”.

  3. Is our children learning?

    1. Look, Tim, I’ve been going to this school for seven and a half years. I’m no dummy.

      1. “Christ. Seven years of college down the drain. Might as well join the fucking Peace Corps.”

      2. Do you have any idea what the street value of this mountain is?

  4. Joe M: Take a look at the link to the “alternative” at the bottom of the post.

  5. Why do they hate me?

  6. “do you really want a bunch of yahoos in a state legislature deciding how it will be taught in public schools?”

    I don’t know Ron. Do your really want a bunch of yahoos in the education schools determining what will be taught in public schools? They are public schools. And I don’t see how the public doesn’t, through their legislature have a right to determine what is taught in them. If the public wants witchcraft taught in them, that is their right.

    In an ideal world, we would have total school choice and there wouldn’t be government run schools. But if there has to be government run schools, I would rather take my chances with the legislature than with the alleged “education experts”.

    1. I would rather take my chances with the legislature than with the alleged “education experts”

      Six of one…

  7. If I ever take the sandtrout as my skin and become God Emperor, one of the first things I’ll do is quickly phase out public education. I might even just ban it right away, if I’m feeling particularly despotic.

  8. “In any case, set aside your own views on how strong you think the science supporting man-made global warming is – do you really want a bunch of yahoos in a state legislature deciding how it will be taught in public schools?”

    Better them than Al Gore and his propoganda film / books.

  9. I dunno. Is that better or worse than having a bunch of unaccountable bureaucrats deciding which textbooks get used in the state? And every whackjob with an axe to grind lobbying against textbooks which don’t properly cover their favorite (ignorant, unsupported) theory?

    I mean, that would be bad, wouldn’t it?

    1. Because no bureaucrat would ever push any wacky theories. Ron only has a problem with the legislature doing this because he doesn’t like what they are doing. Flip the sides for a minute. Imagine if the education establishment was overrun with Conservative Christians rather than wacko lefties and the legislature was intervening to save one of Bailey’s sacred cows from being gored. Something tells me Bailey would view the legislature a lot differently.

      1. Are you confused? Sounds like you’re saying Ron Bailey is a disciple of AGW.

        1. Bailey was for a very long time. Only recently has he come into the agnostic camp and even then he is a very soft agnostic.

          1. My interpretation of his position has always been that he acknowledges global warming exists, based on what data we have, but that he strongly disputes the anthropogenic part.

            1. My distinct recollection is that not too long ago he accepted the anthropogenic global warming thesis.

              Whether he’s backed off of that, I couldn’t say. His tone certainly seems more skeptical.

              I am, of course, far too lazy to actually fish through his on-the-record writings to confirm/deny any of this.

            2. Joe: Just to clear up things – I think that the balance of the scientific evidence is that man-made global warming is occurring. That being said, I am very worried that “What Government Is Likely to Do About Global Warming Will Be Worse Than Global Warming.”

              1. “I think that the balance of the scientific evidence is that man-made global warming is occurring.”

                Even after all that has come out since November you still believe that? It makes me wonder what would have to happen for you to believe that the balance of evidence didn’t favor such a conclusion.

              2. Well that would refute John’s original claim, then.

                1. How so. He just said that he believes in AGW. And thus that supports my claim that he only is objecting to the legislature because he doesn’t agree with them.

                  1. No, because in that piece he linked to, he takes issue with the government stepping in to “do something” about AGW. I would take that to be a consistent position against government interference.

                    1. Thinking that the govenrment shouldn’t take over the economy because of AGW is different than thinking that AGW should be taught as truth in schools. My point is that he only objects to the action because he doesn’t like what they are doing.

                    2. Well, one thing to keep in mind is that the term “anthropogenic global warming” really focuses on the idea that there are man-made contributions to any warming trend that may exist.

                      When the word “consensus” is bandied about by the faithful, the actual consensus at the root of that has been that there is some anthropogenic contribution to the general warming of recent decades. What that doesn’t address is whether that contribution is significant or whether the warming trend will continue. And, of course, I leave out altogether all of the radical “solutions” being demanded of us.

  10. That there are a variety of climatological, meteorological, astrological, thermological, cosmological, and ecological dynamics that can effect world weather phenomena…

    When the Moon is in the seventh house
    And Jupiter aligns with Mars…

    1. Oops, didn’t read Ron’s last paragraph that astrology had been struck. My bad. Really wanted to be the first to snark.

      1. It’s OK,
        Peace can still guide the planet

    2. I think they meant “astronomical”, probably referring to variations in the sun’s output of heat, which is valid to take into consideration.

      Otherwise, I think we ought to be getting government out of the business of education, but given that government is already IN the business of education I think it’s fair to make a statement that AGW should not be taught as absolute fact. There is a great deal of scientific evidence for Evolution, and other than saying “some people disagree” there are no competing claims worth teaching. The science of AGW is not nearly as well established, especially when it comes to predicting the future.

  11. As with intelligent design creationism, there is an alternative to having legislators decide school curricula
    The problem with your analog, it is AGW that is the mindless religious belief. The SD legislature is insuring that science and not the warmist’s religious beliefs are not the sole thing being taught. The exact opposite of the “creation science” BS.

    I at least used to believe that the GW, part was correct. However, the revelations over the past few months have me now doubting that there is any GW, let alone, man-made GW.

    1. Good point. The analogy isn’t to teaching (the controversy over) creationism in a science class, which is a demand to teach religion in a science class.

      This is a demand to teach, you know, science, in a science class. Read the resolutions themselves – they are actually quite unobjectionable.

      1. I don’t want no stinkin’ legislature making scientific pronouncements.

    2. You want to know what the GISS LOTI (Land-Ocean Temperature Index) data looks like? Each month of data is a 2? lat/lon grid, which you can visualize using a 90 x 180 px bitmap — roughly the same size as if you pasted two postage stamps on the LCD in front of you. You’ve got one of those for each month from Jan. 1950 to Dec. 2005. Coverage is decent; there are persistent holes that cover, roughly, the western half of Canada, Alaska, Iceland, the UK, and the greater portion of northern mainland Europe. Data points are not, as one might expect, given as absolute, but as anomaly relative to the so-called 1950-1981 base period.

      My point here is that the dataset is not only incomplete, and at physical coordinates that I would consider to be key, but that it is minuscule; it didn’t occur to me that it was so small until I actually looked at it. Furthermore, I completely fail to understand the reasoning behind keeping the raw data as anomaly; why not leave it absolute, and let the individual researcher perform whatever normalization his particular study might require.

  12. “do you really want a bunch of yahoos in a state legislature deciding how it will be taught in public schools?

    What evidence do you have that the other set of yahoos who are currently deciding such things are doing any better?

  13. I wonder if the creationists would be more successful if they referred to themselves as “evolution skeptics”?

    1. highnumber: Naw, they’re just a bunch of “evolution denialists.” 😉

      1. Ron for the win!!! woo hoo!

        “intelligent warming”?

        “designed climate”?

        1. What’s ironic is that it’s the evolution of our climate that appears to be the problem in understanding it.

  14. I consider AGW as the biggest hoax of our generation, yet I do not believe a legislature has a right to determine what can be taught in a school.

    This once more demonstrates that the problem is not legislation like this but compulsory education.

  15. “That global warming is a scientific theory rather than a proven fact”

    This is far more idiotic than mixing up astronomical w/ astrological. Just amazing that people haven’t caught on to this whole science thing yet.

    And the “cleaned up” version says absolutely nothing. I think they removed anything anybody found objectionable and were left with bland nothings

  16. It’s definitely unsettling to see legislation that sounds like it would fit in a creationism/evolution debate quite effortlessly, but the way Ron is framing it is disingenuous.

    Natural selection and evolution have the weight of over a hundred years of painstaking experimentation and observation continually testing and falsifying data until the consensus among researchers is that this theory is more accurately described as a fact. And as the late Stephen Gould put it “In science, “fact” can only mean “confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional assent.” This perfectly describes evolution and natural selection.

    However, AGW does not even come close to qualifying in the same way that evolution does to be considered as a scientific “fact”. There are way too many models that failed to predict what the science said they would, there are major gaps and distortions in the data being used to determine the theories, and there are a variety of factors involved in measuring climate change that most climatologists and other earth scientists admittedly do not understand.

    Therefore it would be a gross misrepresentation of evolution to compare the two theories as similar in light of this legislation.

  17. In any case, set aside your own views on how strong you think the science supporting man-made global warming is – do you really want a bunch of yahoos in a state legislature deciding how it will be taught in public schools?

    How is that much different than the way anything else is taught in public schools?

    Isn’t that near the top of the list of potential weaknesses of public schools? That some bureaucrat’s inherent biases become taught as “truth” to children’s schooling choices have been hindered and/or greatly reduced?

  18. In any case, set aside your own views on how strong you think the science supporting man-made global warming is – do you really want a bunch of yahoos in a state legislature deciding how it will be taught in public schools?

    Well, no. Anything that reinforces the perception that global warming skepticism and creationism are kissin’ cousins is mighty counterproductive. Sigh.

  19. I completely fail to understand the reasoning behind keeping the raw data as anomaly; why not leave it absolute, and let the individual researcher perform whatever normalization his particular study might require.

    If the baseline is supplied they are completely equivalent in information content. But, without being intimately familiar with the field, I’ll bet that people who are can spot oddities in the differential representation faster than they can in the absolute.

    In other words, it is a matter of convenience for the experts.

    There are things that worry me about climate data sets and methodology, but this is not one of them.

    1. That’s really not the point. It’s difficult to measure temperature, and even to decide on a method for doing so. You can learn a bit about GISS’ rationale here. Basically, there is no concrete baseline; you use other models for that and work backwards to a theoretical absolute number from there if you want to do that. It’s irrelevant though, because of course, we don’t care about the absolute temp here.

      My beef, to clarify, has nothing to do with absolute vs. anomaly; it’s that they don’t provide (or don’t have) any hard readings. The methods they used for getting from raw temp, hour-to-hour and day-to-day, to a more concise and usable monthly anomaly are unknown to me, and that’s the issue, because it can to make all the difference, how you decide to do that.

      And there just is no good reason to prematurely optimize when you’re talking about storing data; people always seem to want to do that and it always comes back and bites you in the end. So just store it already; nothing is stopping you from also offering various versions of it. Especially when you’re dealing with stuff that is going to get contentious, and you have to know that this was going to — it’s just a much better idea to be able to say ‘look, here’s what the thermometers physically said, and here are the normalized datasets we’re using and the strategies we use to generate them.’

    2. In my engineering school calculus-based physics, we would fail the labs if we did not keep absolutely meticulous records of everything in our notebooks to turn in (25 year ago) — original raw data as well as details of all calculations based on them, with all relevant assumoptions stated explicitly.

      If a fuckin’ college freshman can be expected to do that, so can these charlatans/incompetents.

      The whining about the headache of complying with FOIA requests is BS too — if the data is properly gathered and stored all along (given computerized records) as it is supposed to be, then sharing it would be fairly trivial. Even the FOIA’s would mostly go away in the first place if the data was simply shared proactively.

  20. so this is going to affect what, like all 37 of the kids who live in south dakota? they have bigger issues. like whether to grow barley or beets.

    1. You ever wonder about underrated vegetables? I mean,

      Beets?… Beets!

      Beets?… Beets!

      “Beets” me.

    2. Like not freezing to death in winter or being killed by lighting and tornadoes in summer.

  21. My only connection to global warming theory, or just the weather in general, is that I have BSME. Mechanical engineering deals with subjects such as thermodynamics and fluid mechanics. Mastering these two subjects is fundamental to even knowing where to begin on a study of the earth’s weather. The mathematics needed to form or solve even simple laminar flow problems is outside the scope of most high school physical science curricula or taught too late.

    If the goal of high school education is to prepare some, just a very few, students to learn about the weather there isn’t enough time in the school day to warrant a diversion into the theory of global warming.

    Anyone who need in a black

  22. “do you really want a bunch of yahoos in a state legislature deciding how it will be taught in public schools?”

    Not really, but in this case the *actual* current real world alternative is letting unelected bureacrats in school districts (and the state education depts who often tie the hands of local school boards) exercise their overwhelminlgy PC liberal inclinations with almost no checks, the teachers unions virtually holding everyone hostage. Short of outright privatization, devolving most control down to the local school districts is the best defense. Absent that, perhaps the elected legislators reinging in the merely appointed is not such a horrible thing.

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